First Responders Ready For Action In Tulsa Great Raft Race

Monday, September 7th 2015, 12:55 pm
By: Dee Duren

Tulsa, Sand Springs and Keystone firefighters are set up and ready in case Great Raft racers run into trouble on the river. 

Tulsa fire crews have several boats in the water and stations located at key spots along the river, according to Fire Captain Stan May. They'll be paying special attention to the low water dam, he said.

It's after the finish line, but firefighters want to make sure no one shoots past the finish and gets into trouble.

"We've had a few rafts flounder, but nothing serious," he said early Monday afternoon.

Sand Springs Fire Chief Mike Wood said he has three boats in the water and two jet skis so first responders can monitor the action. 

9/7/2015 Related Story: Great Raft Race Tradition Returns To Arkansas River

"We'll just be looking for people that are in distress," he said. "We're only going to intervene if need be."

So far a few crews have bounced off bridge supports, but we haven't seen anyone come to harm. Race organizers insured every crew member wore a floatation device, and they were to check in before and after the race to make sure everyone makes it home safely.

People are expected to take about five to seven hours to complete the event, organizers say. It's not uncommon for people to get tired, especially with sun and alcohol involved.

Organizers say drinking is limited to low point beer.